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Ricciardo and Red Bull 'agree deadline' on contract talks

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB14.
© XPB 

Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull Racing have agreed a deadline by which they should have reached agreement about the driver's future at the team.

That's according to Red Bull motorsports consultant Dr Helmet Marko. He was speaking to Sky Sports News at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during pre-season testing.

"We agreed with him a deadline," Marko said. "So as soon as this deadline is over we'll tell you if it's yes or no."

Naturally, neither Marko nor Ricciardo wanted to reveal what the deadline was that had been agreed.

Ricciardo has previously indicated that he expects contract negotiations to start in April. He said he wanted a chance to remind the team what he could do in the first few races of 2018 before undertaking talks.

"I think realistically around April things will start to be spoken," Ricciardo said last week.

"After a few races, hopefully I win the first few and I can have a powerful say in what I do!"

The incentive goes both ways: if the new RB14 gets off to winning ways, Ricciardo will undoubtedly be even keener to stay at Milton Keynes and contend for the championship.

Max Verstappen is already signed up to Red Bull until 2020. That has led to suggestions that the team wants to shape itself around the younger driver.

But the squad insists that it wants to maintain an unchanged line-up into 2019. It believes that the combination of Ricciardo and Verstappen is the strongest on the current grid.

Ricciardo is well aware that both Mercedes and Ferrari have possible openings for next season. Valtteri Bottas's future is under review at Brackley, while Kimi Raikkonen is already the oldest driver in the sport.

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